It’s not about being polite

You know what’s worse than poor service?

Poor service disguised as good service.

It’s a pretty long story but the short of it is as follows.

45 min after the StarHub shop at a mall had opened for business on an off-peak day, the queue number system for cable customers had yet to show up on the queue system display. Then the first number appeared. I asked the store manager why is it that mobile and “others” customers were already being served and my queue to upgrade my Maxonline package was taking so long.

He said cordially that this was all the staff that he had to handle customers and a new batch was coming in a short while. “Cable packages can take a long time to explain….oh you are renewing your contract? If you can’t wait, you can actually go online and upgrade and someone will contact you.”

So it’s my fault that I bother to turn up at the shop right?

Anyway, I told him I would feedback to his customer service and he nodded. What he didn’t expect that I did it immediately and he soon received a call from HQ.

Then he comes over and apologises profusely: “Oh I just found out that there was a glitch in the system and it wasn’t showing the cable customers’ queue numbers. But we had already started serving the cable customers.”

Uh-huh, I didn’t hear anyone call for our numbers.

Look, I don’t mind waiting in line. Telcos are notorious for making you wait your turn at their shops. What I can’t stand is when their staff just brush you off with formulaic excuses without even bothering to find out what happened. Oh they aren’t rude that’s for sure, as their words are always politely delivered.

But it’s not how courteous you are that matters, it’s how much you really care for the customer.

And how many people in my shoes would have walked off to SingNet instead of waiting?

Ahhh, the irony is that I’m posting this via a StarHub fat green pipe (update 18 Dec – the pipe is really quite fast now that I’ve upgraded to Maxonline 12000, about 700KB/sec downloads from major sites like and, compared to 400KB/sec before.